The college basketball fan’s guide to cord cutting

For the first time ever, Marquette basketball is starting and I don’t have cable. I ditched it in March and never had a real reason to pick it up until now. But my attempts to re-bundle my internet with the local cable company proved more expensive than I realized, so I started down the digital path.

After doing a whole bunch of research, I thought I’d do a quick write-up for anyone that might be in a similar situation.

1. YouTube TV ($64.99)

When I put this question to Twitter, the resounding answer was that YouTubeTV was the best option. It has the easiest interface, the best quality and an unlimited DVR.

It has 85 channels, including all the ESPNs, both FS1 and FS2, the ACC, SEC and B10 networks, CBS and NBC Sports. Basically, the only games you would not have access to are the Regional network ones (on FSW, for example). Since there’s no other streaming service where these are available, it’s not a huge miss.

If you are a diehard CBB fan, YouTube TV is by far the best option.

2. Hulu + Live TV ($54.99 until 12/18)

Hulu + Live TV was a clear second best option in the poll, but the biggest negative is that the price is going up $10 to match that of YouTubeTV in less than a month. So where it was a nice, cheaper option before, it now just has less bells and whistles and no discernable benefit for the same price.

In terms of sports channels, it has all of the same ones as YouTubeTV, minus CBS Sports, so there will be a handful of Big East games you might miss there.

There are 50 hours of cloud DVR storage and you can watch on two screens at once with the base package, but you have to pay extra to upgrade both of those.

One last note, if you have kids or are already a Disney+ subscriber, they do have a nice bundle that will get you both of these plus ESPN+ for $61.99 (soon to be $71.99) so that could be a decent option for some.

3. Sling TV ($30 or $50)

Sling is different from YouTube TV or Hulu TV in that there are two separate channel packages available, each at $30 a month. For CBB purposes, here’s what you need to know.

Blue: FS1, NBCSN, Stadium, TBS, TruTV (3 device streams at once)
Orange: ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, TBS, Stadium (1 device stream at once)

Both tiers also come with 10 hours of cloud DVR and on demand programing.

If you are a Big East fan only, you can probably get by get by with just the blue plan. If, like me, you just can’t get enough basketball, Sling does allow you to bundle both packages for $50 a month.

And we’re in luck that Sling is currently running a BOGO sale, where they will give you a second month free. Add it all up and that means you can get through December for $25 a month.

But wait, there’s more. Because I already went ahead and pulled the trigger, they offered to give me some $5 coupons to pass along to my friends. If you decide to go with Sling, use the link below and get $5 off of your bill each month for the first 4 months, up to a $20 deal.

https://refer.sling.com/s/Andrei50

(Full disclosure, I will also receive a $5 coupon off my own bill, so go ahead and pound that link.)

4. fuboTV ($59.99)

Not as well known as the first 3, fuboTV has expanded from the soccer focus it began with to cater to a wider audience. It has all of the same sports channels as YouTube TV plus the PAC-12 network, which MU fans will need to watch the UCLA game.

The standard plan is $59.99 a month for more than 100 channels, two simultaneous streams and 30 hours of cloud-based DVR. It’s $64.99 a month for 109 channels, 250 hours of cloud-based DVR, and three streams at once.

5. Pirated Streams (free)

If you have a cheap laptop/tablet/phone you don’t mind risking, there are plenty of sites that will illegally stream games. I don’t want to anger the TV gods, so I’ll just say, a google search is usually more than enough.

The fact they are free is tempting, but the quality is usually horrendous, to the point that casting to a TV isn’t worth it. Also, just know that every click will cause at least 1-3 pop ups to appear. Don’t panic and hit back (or close them out) until you are back on the main screen and click play again.

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